Amir Raz gets some funny looks when he talks about using hypnosis and meditation techniques to build attention spans in a hyperactive MTV world.
“Mention contemplation to a lot of people, and all they think of is some kind of (wacky) spiritualism, people sitting around a darkened room with candles, chanting,” says Raz, a McGill University professor who holds the Canada Research Chair in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention.
“Our ideas are shaped by Hollywood movies. So you talk about hypnosis, and people see something out of a Woody Allen movie, a guy in a turban with bushy eyebrows who wants to put you to sleep.”
But “trim away the folkloric fat,” and Raz, a …